Trump’s Use Of ‘Chinese Virus’ Hinders Pandemic Response, Strains U.S-China Relations, Experts Warn

CNBC: Trump defends calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ — ‘it’s not racist at all’
“President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his habit of calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus.’ ‘It’s not racist at all,’ Trump said at a White House press conference to discuss the coronavirus pandemic. ‘No, not at all.’ Trump was asked about his persistent use of the term despite health officials saying that ethnicity does not cause the virus — and reports that dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese-Americans who have been blamed for allegedly spreading the coronavirus…” (Mangan, 3/18).

CNBC: WHO officials warn U.S. President Trump against calling coronavirus ‘the Chinese virus’
“World Health Organization officials warned against calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus’ as President Donald Trump has done, saying that it could unintentionally lead to racial profiling. ‘Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin, or how much money you have in the bank. So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus,’ Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s emergencies program, said at a news conference Wednesday when asked about Trump’s comments inciting violence against Asians…” (Kopecki, 3/18).

The Hill: Trump, GOP ‘dog whistle’ over coronavirus inflames anti-Chinese rhetoric online: analysis
“Social media mentions promoting anti-Chinese rhetoric soared online after President Trump and GOP lawmakers referred to the coronavirus as a “foreign” and Chinese disease, according to a new analysis by a Washington think tank. … ‘Stigmatization, especially online, about COVID-19 is something that makes an effective public health response much harder,’ said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research (DFR) Lab, which conducted the analysis published Tuesday…” (Kelly, 3/18).

POLITICO: Virus pushes U.S.-Chinese relationship toward fracture
“The coronavirus may do more to unravel U.S.-Chinese ties than trade wars, technology threats and presidential tweets ever did. The two countries’ relationship — already under enormous pressure in recent years — is on the verge of imploding as both sides seek to assign blame for the virus’ origin and exchange tit-for-tat recriminations on other fronts, including expelling journalists. The fallout from the global pandemic threatens the recent U.S.-Chinese trade deal and could undermine future global stability given the importance of both countries to international trade…” (Toosi/Behsudi, 3/18).

Additional coverage of U.S.-China relations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is available from Fox News, New York Times, Vox, and Washington Post.

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.